Stan Shea, Hong Kong Marine Biologist, Awarded Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation
We are proud to announce that Stan Shea, ADMCF’s Marine Programme Director has been selected by The Pew Charitable Trusts as a recipient of the Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation. Stan is one of seven international researchers awarded the Fellowship this year and will receive $150,000 over three years to study Hong Kong’s diverse reef fish populations by analysing more than a decade’s worth of data collected by citizen-scientist divers.
Positioned between temperate and tropical areas of the South China Sea, Hong Kong’s waters harbour a rich array of marine life, including nearly 400 species of reef fish. Hong Kong comprises only 0.05% of the marine territory of the South China Sea, yet is documented to have more than 30% of the area’s marine fish fauna. Despite this, less than 4% of Hong Kong’s waters are designated as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). This is far from global targets of protecting 30% of sea areas by 2030. Unsurprisingly, these fish populations are largely unmanaged and are little known by the city’s residents.
In 2014, Stan helped develop a citizen science program called the 114°E Hong Kong Reef Fish Survey to engage recreational divers in a long-term reef fish monitoring effort to collect data about these fish and stimulate interest in conserving them. Data generated by the 114˚E Hong Kong Reef Fish Survey will be usable to help Hong Kong move towards the goal by informing which areas are most important for conservation action at least for reef fishes. It will also provide up-to-date knowledge on Hong Kong’s marine life, which can be used to educate citizens about the truly diverse nature of the city’s waters.
As a Pew Marine Fellow, Stan will conduct the first in-depth analysis of the 10-year dataset collected through the 114°E Survey, producing insights about the condition of Hong Kong’s reef fish populations, potential impacts from climate change, and key habitat areas for species that should be prioritised for conservation. The project will engage citizen scientists in this crucial work through a volunteer diving program and other outreach efforts. Stan hopes these efforts will help people see reef fish not only as food, but as wildlife that need protection and attention.
“The 114˚E Hong Kong Reef Fish Survey collects data on local reef fishes through underwater scuba diving surveys, and recruits local recreational divers as volunteer surveyors – connecting the local community with the important work of scientific research to enable and inform conservation efforts. The awarded Fellowship grant allows us to assemble the first long-term database spanning more than 10 years for reef fish for Hong Kong and the South China Sea region, allowing for unprecedented insight and monitoring of marine biodiversity.” Stan Said.
Stan joins Pew’s global community of 202 Marine Fellows from 42 countries all working to expand knowledge of the ocean and advance the sustainable use of marine resources. The Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation supports mid-career scientists and other experts seeking solutions to challenges affecting the world’s oceans. Fellows are selected by an international committee of marine science experts with a range of expertise following a rigorous nomination and review process.
Learn more about the research here.
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